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Why Create Buyer Personas: A Marketing Must-Have Guide

5 min read

Are you making one of the most common entrepreneurship mistakes?

To find out, answer this question: can your product or service be used by anyone?

If you answered yes, we hate to break it to you, but you’re in the mistake-making group.

If you believe everyone will use your product/service, you are marketing and selling to a potentially unlimited customer base. Unlimited customers, what’s wrong with that? In theory, it sounds like an ideal situation; in reality, by targeting everyone, you are targeting no one. 

The truth is: your product or service won’t appeal to everyone. 

Casting a wide net and hoping to “catch” customers is time-consuming, costly, and dilutes marketing efforts. 

The fix? Customer Personas

Customer Persona Definition

The core of the issue is not having a well-defined target audience (potential clients, united by a number of common characteristics and criteria, that are interested in a product or service).

But that’s just step one. The real magic starts when you create customer personas (fictional representations of your ideal customers).

This is the hyper-detailed essence of your audience… their frustrations, goals, motivations, and more.

Why Create Buyer Personas

Framing your target audience within these consumer personas will help you detect and speak to individual needs, behaviors, and concerns, which will guide how you structure your marketing campaigns, content, communications, and pretty much all customer-facing activities.

Digital customer persona should specifically:

  •       Address the customers’ pain points. What frustrates them about how they usually purchase a product or service like yours? What need must you fulfill for them? Tailor your messaging to highlight how your product/service will solve those issues.

  •       Anticipate their objections and concerns. If you can predict what customers will have questions about or what additional information they will require to complete their purchase, you can preemptively include those details in your messaging.

  •       Map out your customer journey – all the steps a customer takes from first learning about your business to making a purchase. Think about how you can adapt your messaging at each of these points. Instead of sending the same emails to all customers, you can send tailored messages that are more likely to convert each audience segment.

Personas are not just a “nice-to-have but not really needed” marketing tool. They will magnify the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and result in increased sales.

Case Study

Let’s look at Nina Mua Makeup Academy as an example. The school is located in New York and primarily has female students. 

Of course, it’s impossible to target all women in New York nor are all women ideal attendees, so it’s critical to define who is. 

Based on past enrollment statistics, prospective student demographics, and enrollment at competing schools, the team at the academy can create a persona that pinpoints the type of individual likely to be most interested in their courses and form a customer persona analysis. 

A customer persona describing an ideal student at Nina Mua Makeup Academy might be:

Amateur Amanda

A female in her early-30s currently working at an office job in NYC that doesn’t motivate or excite her. She loves makeup and spends her weekends checking out all the new beauty products and trying out YouTube makeup tutorials on herself. She may even consider herself an amateur makeup artist, working on friends and family. She would love to polish up her skills to a professional level and maybe even turn her makeup hobby into a career. Her goal is to live a life where she can express her creativity and have the freedom to create her own schedule.

These types of customer knowledge let the team at the school set parameters for who to target with their social media ads, what language and sentiment to include in their emails, and where their customer hangs out in real-life and virtually to help determine ad placement. 

season 3 amanda GIF by Bachelor in Paradise

How to Define Customer Personas: 4 Steps

1. Identify information sources

If you are just starting out and don’t have a customer base, you will have to brainstorm ideas about the type of customers your business will attract and what customer persona types you’ll need to create. Try to determine who competitors are targeting.

If you are already up-and-running and have a good base of customers, create a survey and incentivize customers to take it (gift cards work magic!).

Also, look at any website analytics you may have, anything from visitor data to information prospects have filled out on online forms.

2. Gather and categorize different personas by the following internal and external traits

Demographics

  •       Age
  •       Gender
  •       Occupation,
  •       Income level
  •       Location (big city, rural, suburbs, etc.)
  •       Education level
  •       Any other similar information applicable to your target audience

Psychographics

(This is where the real value comes in!)

  •       Goals
  •       Motivations
  •       Personality
  •       Frustrations
  •       Hobbies
  •       Life values and aspirations
  •       Any other similar information applicable to your target audience

3. Create a story

Put together a life narrative for your persona and give them a name, like we did above with “Amateur Amanda.”

4. Tailor your marketing to your persona

With the help of your customer profile, you can determine the best ways to reach your customers, what to say in emails, what types of content to post on social media, what values to appeal to, etc. 

Things to keep in mind:

Start with one or two personas and add more if needed. Anything more than seven personas tends to dilute your messaging too much.

Not all businesses will use all characteristics to define their target audiences. For some, location and age might be huge, while for others motivation and education might be determining factors.

Remember that your buyer personas aren’t finite. You should always be paying attention to see if there is anything that needs to be adjusted. Look for signs like the same questions being asked consistently, low engagement, or a completely new customer type you might have missed.

Need additional marketing strategies for success? Check out how to become an entrepreneur course and learn more about persona key creation points and other useful marketing tools. A brighter business is a click away!

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